39 Making Friends Not Always Easy for Foreign Students

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A recent story in the Chronicle of Higher Education said many foreign students report feeling _________ or unwelcome in Australia. Those feelings are among the reasons why Australia is taking a close look at its international education industry. The government has formed an advisory council to help develop a _________ -year national strategy for the future of international education in Australia.

But wherever international students go, making friends may not always be easy. The Journal of International and Intercultural Communication recently published a study done in the United States.

Elisabeth Gareis of Baruch College in New York surveyed _________  international students. They were attending four-year colleges and graduate schools in the American South and Northeast.

Students from English-speaking countries and from northern and central Europe were more _________  to be happy with their friendships. But _________  percent of the international students said they had no close friends in the United States.

And half of the students from East Asia said they were unhappy with the number of American friends they had. Professor Gareis says thirty percent said they wished their friendships could be _________  and more meaningful.

ELISABETH GAREIS: «Students from East Asia have cultures that are different on many _________  from the culture in the United States. But then there’s also language problems, and maybe some social _________ , such as small talk, that are possibly not as important in their native countries, where it’s not as important to initiate friendships with small talk.»

She says many East Asian students blamed themselves for their limited friendships with Americans.

ELISABETH GAREIS: «The vast majority _________  themselves, actually for not speaking the language well enough, not knowing the culture well enough. There were also some comments about the college environment, like many of them were in the natural sciences or worked in _________  where they were surrounded by other East Asians.»

VOA’s Student Union blogger Jessica Stahl did her own survey to find out how American students and foreign students relate to each other. More than _________  students, about half of them American, answered her online questions.

Half of the international students and _________  percent of the Americans said they related as well or better to the other group than to their own group.

Eighty-five percent of the Americans said they have at least one international friend. But only about half said they have more than two international friends.

Among the foreign students, _________  percent said they have more than two American friends. But ten percent said they have no American friends.

Not surprisingly, Professor Gareis says students who _________  friends from their host country return home happier with their experience.

ELISABETH GAREIS: «International students who make friends with host _________  are, overall, more satisfied with their stay in the host country. They have better language skills, they have better academic performance and they have better _________  toward the host country. So when they return home, and often fill leadership positions, they can _________  productive relations with the former host country.»

And that’s the VOA Special English Education Report, written by Jerilyn Watson. I’m Jim Tedder.


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